How to get rid of the smell of fish

Fish has a delicious taste but can leave a lingering smell you'd rather get rid of! These tips will give you easy solutions to remove fish odours!

Updated 24 June 2019

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One of the most common complaints connected with home cooking, aside from arguments over who is going to do the washing up, is how to remove lingering smells of food and, in particular, how to get rid of the smell of fish. Follow these simple tips on how to remove a fishy smell for a more peaceful and pleasant house.

Use a small bowl of baking soda to help neutralise offensive odours.

How to Get Rid of the Smell of Fish Before and During Cooking

A genuinely fresh piece of uncooked fish should not be too pungent. However, if you are concerned about any smells, soak the fish in milk for around 20 minutes. This will have the effect of neutralising any odours. Alternatively, place the fish in a small amount of a solution made up of water and lemon juice. This acts against the microbes that cause bad smells without adversely affecting the flavour.

How to Get Rid of the Smell of Fish from Hands

Once you have prepared your fish-based dish, there is a good chance that your hands will smell quite strongly. Stainless steel can be effective at removing the smell – if you have a stainless steel sink, simply rub your hands on it and then rinse with soap and water – you should be able to tell a difference. This strategy can also be used to remove the smell of garlic.

An alternative solution would be to sprinkle your hands with lemon juice or white vinegar, or to rub some salt into your palms. However, none of these suggestions are advisable if you have any cuts.

How to Remove a Fish Odour from the Refrigerator or Freezer

What can be done when the fridge smells of fish? First, you can make sure that the fish is covered in a sealed container – this should help to minimise the odour. You can also place a bowl of baking soda in the fridge; baking soda will help to absorb these odours.

You can also clean the refrigerator or freezer – here are some steps you can follow:

  • Remove food from the refrigerator or freezer. Then remove the drawers or trays.
  • Create a solution of around one litre of warm water, a few drops of washing up liquid, and a quarter of a cup of baking soda.
  • Use a sponge to apply the solution to all surfaces of the refrigerator, including the door and the drawers or trays. Use more solution to work on the more stubborn areas, where food or smelly stains may be more ingrained.
  • Use a cloth or a paper towel to dry all the treated areas, so that they do not freeze.
  • Apply a small amount of vanilla extract to a paper towel and run this over the surfaces. The natural fragrance will combat any lingering fish smells.
  • Close the door and allow to dry fully. Then return the drawers or trays and the food.

How to Remove the Smell of Fish from Rooms in the House

The above advice treats particular areas, but how should you remove a fishy smell from the house in general?

  • First of all, open a window to let some fresh air in, and either spray some air freshener or use a plug-in air freshener.
  • As an additional measure, light a scented candle – citrus or vanilla flavours work well. The steam of lemon juice added to boiling water will also combat the fishy aroma.
  • Then wipe down all surfaces, including worktops and hard flooring, using an anti-bacterial surface cleaner.
Originally published 19 July 2018